Unique Lines and Emotive Faces: The Expressive Ink of Lisa Murphy

Lines are important to any artist - whether they're beginning a rough sketch, a quick outline of an idea, or creating an artwork of great detail, lines play an important and integral part of a piece, expressing passion, quietness, solitude, or great emotion. Such lines take part in Lisa Murphy's works giving life to her own poetry and voice in each piece she shares. I can't help notice a certain lulling or movement in her webby lines that give the impression of being immersed and wrapped up in emotion, as if her women were sirens crooning and beckoning us to join their inky melancholic worlds, ignoring the fact if we are comfortable doing so or not.
But we end up taking the irresistible plunge into the depths anyway...
There is a gentle sensuality and a delicate, fragile beauty as well as a rawness in Lisa's art that reaches out and resonates with our personal world, and I daresay, vulnerability; sometimes even drowning us unforgivingly in the intricate and emotive complexity that her work offers us. 

Lisa shares with us her personal reasons for creating certain artworks, why she can't part with her artwork Solace, her affinity with birds and why she's never boarded a plane before.

What medium do you usually work with?
My favourite and most preferred medium is ink with a dipping nib. I also enjoy blending graphite with ink. I dabble and experiment with other mediums but always come back to ink.

How long have you been drawing, painting?
I have been drawing for as long as i can remember. I still have the very first paint set I used as a child, a small tin, the lid of which reads, “The Little Artist”. It is one of my most treasured items.

Tell us about your artistic vision, the message you express through your work. Your purpose to create the work you create.
My artistic vision, broadly speaking, is to be able to capture an emotion and transfer it onto paper in a way that, hopefully, others connect to and feel. Drawing, for me, is a solitary and personal experience and as such, I don’t draw with the purpose of sending out a message. I aim to keep my finished works ambiguous, allowing the viewer to interpret it in a way that is relevant and personal to them. It is along these lines that I also choose the titles, not wanting to influence, too heavily, the viewer’s own interpretation.

 Where do you draw inspiration from?
I find inspiration in almost everything that surrounds me. Music, books, films, nature, poetry, conversation and so on. Inspiration, like imagination, should be limitless. In the rendering of the drawing itself, I am inspired by many artists for many different reasons, be it their particular lines, movement, expressionism, raw honesty, beauty, romanticism…etc There are too many artists to name but i can list Schiele, Beardsley, Klimt , Durer and Waterhouse as the most influential. I am also very heavily influenced by melancholia in all it’s forms. I find myself somewhat captivated by the deep and rich beauty that lays within this dark emotion, it feeds my imagination constantly.

agony & ecstasy
between dreams

silent sigh

Pick up to three artworks that are most meaningful/personal to you.

in her eyes

her silent world


Pick one artwork you’d like to talk about more in depth, it can be one of your personal favorites.


This particular drawing is titled, “Solace” and is a personal favourite, simply because, when I look into it, I feel a deep connection with it and with what it was that I was hoping to convey, that being, the sense of comfort, of feeling content and safe, being as one with another. It was really the overwhelming and powerful sense of LOVE, that I wanted to capture and I feel I achieved it with this one. It is one drawing that I can’t bring myself to part with.

Tell us something about you we don’t know, maybe something quirky or awkward or unique – something that makes you who you are.

I have this great affinity with birds and yet, I have a fear of flying and have never set foot in a plane. The irony of this is not lost on me :-)

Is there anything you’d like to tell other artists and people reading this? Any words of inspiration to encourage or stimulate creativity in society?

I am certainly not one to offer advice to others, but the advice that I always give to myself and try to adhere to, is this. Stay true to yourself, I know it is cliche, but i feel, it keeps art meaningful, and hence, enjoyable to create. Draw the things that make YOU happy and not what you feel others expect or want you to draw. Never be afraid to draw what lays within your darker recesses, openly express and explore all the opportunities that your imagination offers you, allowing you to grow artistically and not become stagnant. The only words of inspiration i can offer to encourage creativity is simply, DRAW…..just draw, pick up and pencil and draw :-) I can’t imagine life without drawing.

More works by Lisa Murphy that caught my eye:







Power of a Dream

Waiting for the Sunshine

To view and follow Lisa's work, go to:

Ronan Crowley

I've been following the work of Ronan Crowley for a few months now, and his bold lines and strong, deep style caught my attention along with the subject matter of his artworks. I instantly sensed a strong connection to the imaginative world in his work, drawing one into the deeper realms of the subconscious and the elusive places where dreams come and go;  it almost seems he creates his own symbolism and meanings through the forms and figures he draws. One can easily conjure up a story or personal meaning by looking at his work. 

He shares with us his childhood influences that range from illustrations of UFO's and ghosts to his first drawing of Mars; his admiration for Irish artist Pauline Bewick and why he's a full time teacher planning to move to Istanbul soon.

two sisters and the moon

What medium do you usually work in? (Ex: oils, pastels, mixed media, etc…)

I generally work with technical pen, marker and acrylic ink on Bristol paper, though I have occasionally used acrylic paint on canvas.

How long have you been drawing/painting?

I have been drawing my whole life really. My earliest childhood recollections are of drawing on a school copybook on my parents living room floor. I can even remember what I was drawing, it was the planet mars, with large spikes for mountains!

Tell us about your artistic vision, the message you express through you work. Your purpose to create the work you create.

I like to paraphrase Robert Crumb by saying I don’t really have a preconceived “message” in my work…just whatever comes out comes out. I have no idea what it means, that’s up for the audience to decide.. I don’t even like to title my work most of the time.. I much prefer the audience to give it their own name. Again to paraphrase Crumb, drawing is simply a deeply ingrained habit of mine. I couldn't stop even if I tried.


Where do you draw inspiration from?

I wish I was one of those artists who could look outward for inspiration, but my inspiration seems to come more from deep within me than anything else. It’s something that is just dragged up from my subconscious or whatever. Normally when I am sitting in front of a blank page with pencil in hand, I have no real idea what is going to come out.. I just start with a line and somehow something takes form out of it.

Pick up to three artworks that are the most meaningful/personal to you.

I have some deep seated childhood memories of my father bringing home a book from the library, some book about unsolved mysteries or something. It was all about ghosts and UFOs and bigfoot and the like, and I remember it was in one of these books that I first saw examples of the Irish artist Harry Clarke’s work.I believe it was one of his illustrations for Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and it immediately fascinated was also in one of these books that I became fascinated by William Blake's painting of Nebuchadnezzar..the painting both terrified and fascinated me as a child.


Pick one artwork you’d like to talk about more in depth, it can be on of your personal favorite.

Ever since I saw a documentary on her on Irish tv when I was a little kid I have been fascinated by the Irish artist Pauline Bewick. A self-taught artist, I have loved her beautiful, symbolic, erotic, sensuous style of art for years. A work of hers I particularly like is “Reading and Thinking”, which is a simply gorgeous combination of simple sensuous line and deft symbolism. Her similarity to Picasso and Matisse has been noticed by greater minds than mine, but she is not simply an imitator, she has her own erotic, distinctly feminine style that I love deeply and in my own clumsy way have tried to emulate.

Tell us something about you we don’t know, maybe something quirky or awkward or unique ;)

Something that makes you who you are.

There's nothing much to say really…I am a qualified teacher hoping to move to Istanbul in the next few months to teach full-time. Teaching for me is just a job to pay the bills, what I would really like to do is to support myself through my artwork.

 Is there anything you’d like to tell other artists and people reading this? Any words of inspiration to encourage or stimulate creativity in society?

Well I feel I am still at the early stages of my career so I can't give much useful advice..all I would say is, if you are the type of artist who works from imagination rather than observation, then trust your gut and don’t be afraid of what can appear on the page from the darker recesses of your imagination. If you can tap into this particular vein, then there are many riches waiting to be discovered.

Ronan's personally selected artworks for this feature:

cypress hill

three sisters


You can view and follow more of Ronan's work at:

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